Top US water official, states talking Colorado River drought
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Water managers from seven Southwestern states that depend on the Colorado River are close but haven’t finalized an unprecedented drought contingency plan they may have to enact in 2020.
The federal government’s top water official, Brenda Burman, is expected to urge action Thursday at a Colorado River Water Users Association conference in Las Vegas where a pact was supposed to be signed.
The river and the huge Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs provide drinking water to 40 million people and irrigation for crops in arid parts of U.S. and Mexico.
Arizona would be first to feel the pinch if a shortage is declared as expected next year.
Supplies to Nevada and California also could be curtailed.
Arizona state lawmakers still have to approve mitigation plans, perhaps in January.